Chamoli (Uttarakhand), Nov 9 (IANS): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Congress were committed to an effective Lokpal bill that would be presented in parliament and implemented, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said Wednesday in a speech read out in absentia.
Gandhi, who was supposed to address a rally, her first since returning after a surgery abroad for an undisclosed ailment in August, called off the visit after she got fever.
In the speech that was read out to the gathering in Gauchar in Chamoli district, she hit out at Team Anna for threatening another agitation on the Lokpal bill and said the UPA would bring a strong anti-corruption bill.
"Corruption cannot be fought by speeches, so I don't understand why this noise," Gandhi said in the speech at a function to lay the foundation stone of a new rail line at Gauchar.
"You would know that it was the National Advisory Council (NAC) headed by me which had first started public consultations for a Lokpal," she added. It is the first time that she has spoken in detail on the subject.
Stating that the prime minister and the party were for a strong and effective Lokpal, she said: "The bill will be presented in the parliament and we will implement it."
After Gandhi, 64, cancelled her programme, Defence Minister A.K. Antony laid the foundation stone in her place.
The rally was being seen as the launch of the Congress's campaign for the upcoming assembly polls in 2012 in the state.
The Congress president is a star campaigner and the party is banking heavily on her crowd-pulling abilities in the five states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand going to the polls next year.